MasterPo says: This blog is about topics and issues that are of importance to me. I am not one of the countless blogging lemmings that are tripping over each other scurrying down the hill and off the cliff of blogging oblivion trying to write the greatest blog on the latest topic de'jour. Your comments are welcome.

February 24, 2009

Can't We All Get Along? – No!

"Can't we all just get along?" It's a sweet idea. And not a bad goal to aim for.

But the reality is the answer to that question has to be a resounding NO!

As hash as that seems to deny it is to deny the truth and to force one party to give in on their own views and opinions.

In the paranormal field there are a number of different view on research equipment and techniques. Some hold very strongly to their opinion on the validity or not of the equipment and techniques. For example, some people love the K2 meter while others make the case that it is "ify" at best. In another example, some believe very strongly in the use of a psychic or sensitive while others feel the readings on equipment should guide the investigation and conclusions.

The specifics don't really matter. What does matter is that in order for us "all to get along" one side that has strong feelings pro/con, this/that has to given to the other side and as such give up their position. That's not right for anything, paranormal or not.

People can disagree and remain respectful. At least in public. And should. It is not an criticism of a person or a personal attack to strongly disagree with someone as long as you can list reasonable and logical arguments for your point of view.

One can argue that it is through conflict, not agreement, that real advancement is made. People challenging established ideas, forcing people to re-evaluate and re-think their stand on a topic. Even if that topic is considered in stone (like the Earth is round – but don't tell the Flat Earth Society!) challenging it is a good idea as long as you have some basis to challenge with. Just saying you don't agree isn't good enough unless you offer up your own list of reasons.

As I have written in this blog before, and idea or theory isn't one just because you say it is. Just putting forth a concept is not worthy of praise! The fact is that not all ideas are created equal. Not all are sufficient to be considered viable. Some are ideas are just plain ridiculous. And it's important to stand up and say they are, not embrace them out of a warped sense of getting along!

And what is more concerning is those who are not familiar with the paranormal but thirst for information. When these novices come in contact with these ridiculous ideas they have no basis to refute them and usually accept it as so. Which is one very sure sign of a person with a shaky basis on fact – that they can't convince seasoned colleagues of their ideas but instead have to indoctrinate the inexperienced.

Getting a long is a great goal to aim for. But not at the cost being blind to reality, turning away from truth, and having an anything-goes approach.

Green cheese anyone?

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February 20, 2009

Freedom Of Movement

"Freedom" and liberty encompass a great many aspects. Infringement on one diminishes all the others.

One of the greatest freedoms (not to imply there are lesser freedoms) is the ability to travel anywhere at any time. Your only restriction is where to get fuel and how much you can afford.
Despots and totalitarians always try to control freedom of movement of people. A population that can't go anywhere (at least no where fast or no where that can't be tracked) is dangerous to the ruling body.

The head long mad dash to smaller and alternate powered automobiles (not to mention an underlying theme of automobile elimination in many locations altogether) is such an infringement on the freedom of movement.

First, the shear size of these smaller cars makes it hard if not impossible for 2 people to take any kind of multi-day trip. There just isn't the room for driver, passenger, some luggage, cooler, accessories etc. Now add in a child and all the extras that have to come along and you can't squeeze all that into a sardine can! Imagine two adults and a baby in a Smartcar!(?)
Next there is the power issue. On long hauls where great distances has to be covered over major roads the benefits of a hybrid diminish greatly. Add in weather conditions, like snow, and that affects the benefits even more.

For electrics it's even worse. It would be impossible to travel hundreds of miles in a reasonable time frame. For example, recently my wife and I drove from Long Island to Portland, Maine. The trip (with rest stops) took 6 hours. We refueled twice a long the way. But with an electric it would take at least 2 full days considering the speed and the recharge time. Plus the added expense of a hotel for the over night on the way up. In another example, last year some friends took a road trip from Long Island to Colorado(!). Sharing thr driving it took about 35 hours straight (each way - I chose to fly instead!). They drove to be cheaper and enjoy the scenary. Couldn't have done that in an electric.

Finally, there is the safety. I don't care how many studies you sight about the comparative safety of a mini, electric or hybrid car. The evidence of my own eyes shows these can't be safe at a high speed accident.

When a population can't quickly or readily move itself it's easier to control.

One for the road.

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February 17, 2009

Breaking Away

"We hate to see you go.
We hate to see you go.
Hope to Hell you never come back,
We hate to see you go!"

(sung to the tune of "A Bear Went Over The Mountain")

In spite of romantic myth and song breaking up really isn't so hard to do. In fact, it's as easy as switching off a light.

I'm not referring so much to romantic relationship breakups but rather friends and associates leaving groups. I understand that sometimes you reach a juncture in life and you have to take the path that you think is best for yourself at this risk of pissing someone else off. It's your life, you have to live it as you think is best. I accept that. But what happened to the concept of not burning a bridge? Or not forgetting where you came from? The sheer cold shoulder is brutal.

I have known many people in my adult life that are your buddy today and then tomorrow comes and they don't even acknowledge you. No friendly farewells. No heart-to-heart talks along the lines of "I have to do this in my life". Nothing. Just good-bye and have a nice life.

That's fine (well, not really but it is common) for a business to act but individuals who have known each other for years, been through a lot together, shouldn't act that way.

There's a guy now I've known for nearly 4 years. We, as well as a group of others, have met up more or less weekly for all that time. We have traveled many places, experienced many things together, but up with a lot of BS together etc. Suddenly he's gone. Just one day he said he has to move on and that was that. Life will go one but it did leave me and the rest of the group asking WTF?!

I understand the need to sometimes do what's best for yourself. Sometimes that will piss off others as your departure will make their lives more difficult. But it seems the concept of a friendly hand-shake 'Good-Bye' is just another urban legend.

Behavior like that is for grade school kids, not adults.

This article isn't going to resolve anything. Just an expression of dismay and frustration.

Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

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February 14, 2009

The Myth of Being Squeaky Clean

There's an old saying in business: If you're not pissing someone off then you aren't working hard enough!

We like to think of wanting our leaders - both political and business – to be people of irreproachable virtue. That's very laudable goal. But not reality.

The fact is that as you go through life you can't help but accumulate detractors. Somewhere in your life you got someone angry at you, insulted them, or just did them wrong in some transaction or other manner. It may not even be true. Misunderstandings are very common. Bbut they think you did and perception is 9/10th's reality. Even just walking down the street these days you risk upsetting someone when they think you walked in front of them, cut them off, should have waited for them to pass, etc etc etc.

And perhaps you really did do something you shouldn't have or, in hind-sight at least, wasn't the right thing to do. No one is an angel (and if you did meet someone like that chances are good they've been living in a cave or some other grossly isolated life!).

It's impossible to avoid. Some people seem to wake up with a chip on their shoulder everyday and look for someone to lay the blame on. Others are incredible sensitive or fragile that nothing short of the softest touch and kindest words is enough to keep them at ease.

You just can't help it.

But that said, what you do afterwards is just as important. That is, do you constantly repeat the same actions? Or, do you try to make amends?

If you want to look long and deep enough you can always find someone who has an issue with someone else. That's a regrettable part of living in a tight society. And the more you strive for a lead or leadership role the more you put yourself in the cross-hairs of attack for reasons true or not. Sometimes I wonder why anyone would purposely do that to themselves (and their families in some case). Which itself is a problem as I'm sure we have lost the opportunity for many great leaders who simply chose not t put themselves through all of the microscopic scrutiny.

Whatever you consider "normal" issues verses issues too great to overlook is your own stand point. But just remember that no one with knowledge and experience to lead is also squeaky clean.

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February 11, 2009

Court Ruling: Sue Me Over A Backorder?

I shouldn't be surprised but I am. Surprised at just how low we, that is Americans, have stooped in being so sensitive and childish about petty things.

Grow a pair!!

Last week a guy ordered a certain product from my website. It was out of stock at the time he ordered it. My E-commerce site doesn't track inventory in real time. That takes a lot of very advanced software and networking to connect an online website to an inventory database and update availability in real time. Several thousands$$$ of dollars worth of software and systems plus the daily management and support (networks are always having issues).

His credit card was not charged when he ordered. I do that manually later for just this reason – if something isn't available immediately it isn't fair to charge someone then make them wait for it. Would you like to be charged today and not receive an item until whenever? I wouldn't.

So the product was out of stock when he placed his order. The next business day when I picked up his order I sent him an email acknowledging the receipt of the order and informing him the item was out of stock but has been reordered from our supply. His order would be shipped promptly when it came in.

Seems reasonable and professional to me so far. Anyone disagree?

Today I received a flaming email from the guy that it's been 5 days (calendar days, only 3 business days) since he placed his order and has not received it nor any communication. He therefore is cancelling his order.

He can cancel. That sucks for me as I now have an item coming that I don't have a buyer for (someone else will order one soon I'm sure). But I can't force it on it.

So for good customer service and to hopefully save the order I call the guy.

He's livid about it.

He's yelling "Why didn't your website tell me it was out of stock when I ordered?"

Buddy - You got a spare $10,000 sitting around I can have to setup a real-time inventory system?

I tell him an email was sent informing him of the backorder. He denies receiving it and demands I forward a copy again to him. So I do. He still insists he never saw that email. Not my problem. I can't control the internet. Call Al Gore about it.

I try to explain that it's not practical to always have an unlimited supply of everything I sell on hand. Sometimes there will be an outage and a delay as items are reordered from my suppliers.

He doesn't care. He's still yelling.

Now it gets fun!

He says it's fraud that I didn't have it immediately on hand when he ordered it. He's going to contact the New York Attorney General and report my fraud.

I nearly fall out of my seat laughing!

This is the first time in this guy's life he's wanted to buy something that's out of stock at the moment from the store?? Must be.

Still trying to save the sale (I'm an eternal optimist) I try to calm him down saying the items will probably come in today or tomorrow (which is true – I called my supplier before calling the customer and was told the item had been shipped) and he'd probably have it by the end of the week. Not good enough for him.

It gets better.

Now he says is going to contact his attorney and sue me for fraud and misrepresentation!

At this point I can barely control the laughter so I tell him we'll cancel the order and have a nice day.

Sue me for fraud and misrepresentation over an out of stock item from an order only 3 business days ago?? This has to have been a joke – but likely not.

I say: Bring it on!!

Sue me. I'd love to see it. I will laugh my ass off in court as you try to explain to a judge that just because you placed an order and didn't receive the item in 5 days you're entitled to damages! Your credit card was not charged so you can't claim any financial loss (the total order including shipping was less than $100 so it would be small claims at best anyway).

5 days – 3 business days – and he's pissed off. Ready to call the AG and a lawyer.

Bring it on!

I doubt anything will come of this but it makes for a good laugh. And a tear as this is what the American people have come to. Thankfully shmucks like this are few and far between while most customers are very decent and understanding people.

If I do get any legal contact from this person, his lawyer or the Attorney General I will keep my readers informed for the entertainment value.

PS- Maybe I should sue too? I placed an order with Bass Pro for some lures 3 weeks ago and still haven't gotten it. I smell millions here! (that's sarcasm if you don't get it)

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February 5, 2009

You Can't Hide Behind Free Speech!

Growing up my mother would often tell me “If you don’t have anything nice to say about someone then don't say anything at all."

Yes, you have the right to free speech.
Yes, you have the right to express your ideas and beliefs.
Yes, you have the right to an opinion.

But having the right isn't the same as have the requirement to actually say it. Sometimes the better part of valor is not to say anything at all.

Or at least, don't keep repeating it again and again. Once or twice is stating an opinion. More than that starts looking like a grudge. People can understand and accept a strong opinion. But a grudge is seen as immature even irrational. Sometimes it is necessary to keep restating your point. But when you keep harping on the same thing over and over that turns people off.

Over the fullness of time my mother's saying has come true over and over again.

Too bad more people don't follow it. (You know who you are.)

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February 1, 2009

Alternate History: Bush and Cheney are Impeached – Now what?

Note: This article was written before the November 2008 election.

Even in this 11th hour of the Bush/Cheney administration there are still efforts to have them both impeached. Unbelievable! Get over it!

This is not about the merits (which are oh soooooooo weak!) of impeaching President Bush and Vice President Cheney. That's been beaten well in other blogs. This article is about what it would have meant if in fact Bush and Cheney were impeached and removed from office.

Always keep in mind that "impeachment" is not the same as removal from office! Bill Clinton was impeached. That is a fact of history no matter how some want to spin it. Being "impeached" is the same for a President as is a conviction for you and me. But just like a conviction doesn't always result in jail time so an impeachment doesn't have to result in removal from office. And keep in mind that there has never in American history been the impeachment and removal of a President and Vice President.

But let's presume it did happen. President George Bush and Vice President Richard Cheney were impeached and the sentence was removal from office.

Now what?

According to the Presidential Succession Act of 1947, codified in Title 3, Chapter 1, Section 19 of the United States Code, the Speaker of the House (Congress) and the President pro Tempore of the Senate are the next two in line of authority (followed by the Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Defense rounding out the first 5 in order). So the head of the Congress becomes President and the head of the Senate becomes the VP. That means Speaker Nancy Pelosi would have been President!

Stop and think about that. President Nancy Pelosi. Just think what that means.
She would have been the first woman President. While I'm sure many feminists would have been cheering in the streets, is that really the way they wanted it to go down? She would have been an unelected President.

No one voted for her. No one declared their undivided support for her and her administration.No one said "Yep, she's the one I want to lead the country and the free world!"And definitely no mandate from the people!

Is this really the way feminists want history to record how the first woman President took office? Not my election of popularity but by legal maneuvering?! (I sometimes wonder if she herself understood what would happen if people like her got her way with the impeachment.)

I wonder if she would have run for election when her temporary term was up? Would she have run against Hilary Clinton in the next election? That at least would have been interesting.

Think about what this would mean for the Democrat party. First, the only way they can get one of their members into the Oval Office is by arresting and deposing a sitting President?! How honorable is that? And they too certainly couldn't say they had a mandate from the people. Now add in the Nancy Pelosi is also a Democrat and do they really want history recording the first woman to be President wasn't by election but by legal tactics and was also backed by the Democrat party?

In the end I suppose it doesn't really matter. To those who believe Bush and Cheney deserve to be impeached and removed the end justifies the means. But history is forever. And history will be much more critical of those than they believe it will be.

Fortunately it won't happen. But we can still wonder what if?

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